Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

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Saengnapha
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:16 am

Bundokji wrote:
Saengnapha wrote:I'm afraid I can't follow your argument. Mindfulness is not about finding anything, it's about noting and knowing what you are doing in the moment. It has no philosophical meaning. It is an activity like reading. It involves attention. Of course the attention is yours, but that is not the point of mindfulness.
In our daily life, even before we encounter Buddhism, we pay attention to many different things. Usually, attention is linked either to desire (when you walk in the street and you encounter someone from the opposite sex, you might pay more attention to certain parts of the body) and it is also linked to mental habits (we do have the habit of focusing on certain things and overlooking other things). Also attention is linked to that which is against the norm (imagine you go to a room full of people and everyone is wearing the same color except one).

What is the difference (if any) between Buddhist mindfulness and the normal attention of everyday life. I am not asking about the subject of attention, but about the activity itself?
The practice of mindfulness in a Buddhist context begins with paying attention to what is taking place primarily in your body/feelings/mental formations/phenomena. It is an activity of noticing with no goal or judgement about what you are doing in any given moment. The Satipatthana Sutta is its basis. You will find the key elements in this sutta and the Anapanasati Sutta. You can even use google to query its meaning. Mindfulness is combined with a meditation object like breath to help focus and concentrate and to calm the body and mind (Samatha) so Vipassana can take place, insight. Desire or mental habits are noticed. No engagement or indulgence in these is required. You don't think about your thinking or feelings, you notice and move on to the next moment. When you see that you are thinking or analyzing, you notice what you are doing and the attention returns to the moment. It is an excellent way to disengage from habit and leads to insight such as the impermanence of all things. It is a remarkably simple thing when done properly.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:59 am

Greetings Spiny,
Spiny Norman wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:The best way to do this, IMO, is to see 'arising'.
I'm not entirely clear what you mean by "arising" - do you mean phassa ( contact )?
No, not contact... that's already too far down the paticcasamuppada chain - by then it is already an 'arisen' 'thing'. Hence, why I referred to the nama-rupa vortex above, which has a cyclical relationship with vinnana.
Spiny Norman wrote:Maybe you could give a practical example?
The Satipatthana Sutta is full of them, and you'll recognise it from the standard refrain...
"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.
Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:29 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Spiny,
Spiny Norman wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:The best way to do this, IMO, is to see 'arising'.
I'm not entirely clear what you mean by "arising" - do you mean phassa ( contact )?
No, not contact... that's already too far down the paticcasamuppada chain - by then it is already an 'arisen' 'thing'. Hence, why I referred to the nama-rupa vortex above, which has a cyclical relationship with vinnana.
Spiny Norman wrote:Maybe you could give a practical example?
The Satipatthana Sutta is full of them, and you'll recognise it from the standard refrain...
"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.
Metta,
Paul. :)
Sorry, I'm still not clear. Stuff is arising all the time, but we only notice it when contact occurs. How far back down the chain are you proposing to go? A practical example would be really helpful, so as not to get lost in competing technical theories.

I don't think the Satipatthana passage is relevant here by the way - check Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes for MN10 in his translation of Majjhima Nikaya.
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:23 am

Spiny Norman wrote:Greetings Spiny,
Spiny Norman wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:The best way to do this, IMO, is to see 'arising'.
I'm not entirely clear what you mean by "arising" - do you mean phassa ( contact )?
No, not contact... that's already too far down the paticcasamuppada chain - by then it is already an 'arisen' 'thing'. Hence, why I referred to the nama-rupa vortex above, which has a cyclical relationship with vinnana.
Spiny Norman wrote:Maybe you could give a practical example?
The Satipatthana Sutta is full of them, and you'll recognise it from the standard refrain...
"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or externally on the body in & of itself, or both internally & externally on the body in & of itself. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the body, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the body, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the body. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a body' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.
Metta,
Paul. :)
Sorry, I'm still not clear. Stuff is arising all the time, but we only notice it when contact occurs. How far back down the chain are you proposing to go? A practical example would be really helpful, so as not to get lost in competing technical theories.

I don't think the Satipatthana passage is relevant here by the way - check Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes for MN10 in his translation of Majjhima Nikaya.[/quote]
I believe Paul is referring to this vortex of consciousness and name and form which is mentioned in the Kalakarama Sutta in Magic Of The Mind, by Nanananda, chapter 5, The Voritcal Interplay.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Bundokji » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:56 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Bundokji wrote:
Saengnapha wrote:I'm afraid I can't follow your argument. Mindfulness is not about finding anything, it's about noting and knowing what you are doing in the moment. It has no philosophical meaning. It is an activity like reading. It involves attention. Of course the attention is yours, but that is not the point of mindfulness.
In our daily life, even before we encounter Buddhism, we pay attention to many different things. Usually, attention is linked either to desire (when you walk in the street and you encounter someone from the opposite sex, you might pay more attention to certain parts of the body) and it is also linked to mental habits (we do have the habit of focusing on certain things and overlooking other things). Also attention is linked to that which is against the norm (imagine you go to a room full of people and everyone is wearing the same color except one).

What is the difference (if any) between Buddhist mindfulness and the normal attention of everyday life. I am not asking about the subject of attention, but about the activity itself?
The practice of mindfulness in a Buddhist context begins with paying attention to what is taking place primarily in your body/feelings/mental formations/phenomena. It is an activity of noticing with no goal or judgement about what you are doing in any given moment. The Satipatthana Sutta is its basis. You will find the key elements in this sutta and the Anapanasati Sutta. You can even use google to query its meaning. Mindfulness is combined with a meditation object like breath to help focus and concentrate and to calm the body and mind (Samatha) so Vipassana can take place, insight. Desire or mental habits are noticed. No engagement or indulgence in these is required. You don't think about your thinking or feelings, you notice and move on to the next moment. When you see that you are thinking or analyzing, you notice what you are doing and the attention returns to the moment. It is an excellent way to disengage from habit and leads to insight such as the impermanence of all things. It is a remarkably simple thing when done properly.
Thanks Saengnapha,

Personally, i try to understand the Buddha's teachings as one coherent unity aiming at ending suffering. Mindfulness is a part of the Buddha's teachings, hence it should not be understood in isolation from the rest of the teachings.

The truth of suffering is describing reality as experienced by the uninstructed/unenlightened mind. The root of suffering is ignorance and desire (both are basically one thing). Our attachments to certain feelings lead us to ignore/turn a blind eye on aspects of reality that we consider inconvenient. In other words, we live in a state of denial valuing short term gratification of our desires at the expense of our long term well being.

Understanding the problem is essential to understanding the solution. This is why Buddhism is often described as "going against the grain".

The problem can be clearly seen by observing the way attention works in the unenlightened mind, and in my previous post i stated the following:

1- It is driven by desire
2- It is linked to mental habits
3- It is more likely to notice what is outside the "norm" than what is "normal"

Then i tried to engage you by asking you what is the difference between Buddhist attention and the everyday attention of human beings. Would it be safe to conclude that attention from a Buddhist perspective should have the following qualities:

1- Dispassion
2- Breaking away from mental habits (this is where suspending judgement is useful)
3- More likely to focus on the "ordinary" where things are usually overlooked than the "extraordinary"

And if the above is not objectivity, then what it is? I have heard once that enlightenment is "the elimination of subjectivity".
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:13 am

Greetings Spiny,

I think we're just understanding phassa differently (again?)
Spiny wrote:How far back down the chain are you proposing to go?
Before name is goven form, and before form is given name.
Saengnapha wrote:I believe Paul is referring to this vortex of consciousness and name and form which is mentioned in the Kalakarama Sutta in Magic Of The Mind, by Nanananda, chapter 5, The Voritcal Interplay.
:thumbsup:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:46 am

Bundokji wrote: Personally, i try to understand the Buddha's teachings as one coherent unity aiming at ending suffering. Mindfulness is a part of the Buddha's teachings, hence it should not be understood in isolation from the rest of the teachings.

The truth of suffering is describing reality as experienced by the uninstructed/unenlightened mind. The root of suffering is ignorance and desire (both are basically one thing). Our attachments to certain feelings lead us to ignore/turn a blind eye on aspects of reality that we consider inconvenient. In other words, we live in a state of denial valuing short term gratification of our desires at the expense of our long term well being.

Understanding the problem is essential to understanding the solution. This is why Buddhism is often described as "going against the grain".

The problem can be clearly seen by observing the way attention works in the unenlightened mind, and in my previous post i stated the following:

1- It is driven by desire
2- It is linked to mental habits
3- It is more likely to notice what is outside the "norm" than what is "normal"

Then i tried to engage you by asking you what is the difference between Buddhist attention and the everyday attention of human beings. Would it be safe to conclude that attention from a Buddhist perspective should have the following qualities:

1- Dispassion
2- Breaking away from mental habits (this is where suspending judgement is useful)
3- More likely to focus on the "ordinary" where things are usually overlooked than the "extraordinary"

And if the above is not objectivity, then what it is? I have heard once that enlightenment is "the elimination of subjectivity".
I am only addressing the subject of the thread, mindfulness as non-judgemental awareness. I am not saying that your statements are not valid, but you are talking about things that are beyond the scope of what the thread is about. We are not talking about philosophy or problem/solution, but mindfulness.

Sorry if we are not in agreement about this thread.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Bundokji » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:03 pm

Saengnapha wrote:I am only addressing the subject of the thread, mindfulness as non-judgemental awareness. I am not saying that your statements are not valid, but you are talking about things that are beyond the scope of what the thread is about. We are not talking about philosophy or problem/solution, but mindfulness.

Sorry if we are not in agreement about this thread.
No worries friend, this is common when people communicate on the internet. I tried to emphasize the same point you mentioned from the outset, that it has nothing to do with philosophy by trying to bring it back to the common sense reality of everyday (instead of arguing whether a self exist or not).

My intention was not to go beyond the scope of the thread, but to justify and explaining what i meant by "observing objectively". I also find that discussing one aspect of the teachings in isolation of the wider scheme can be misleading, at least to my mind.

Peace :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by ToVincent » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:08 pm

On some necessary prerequisites for a good understanding:
--------------------------------------------------------

The problem of Buddhism, is that there is no Cārvāka (Lokāyata) litterature left.

How to convince an ingrained naturalist or empiricist, that there is something beyond the senses, the natural and the supernatural; as Buddha stated it so clearly.

As long as the naturalist and purely empiricist mind will prevail in some, there will be no possible understanding of what Buddhism is for them.

At best, they'll strip the all Teaching of what is not worldly - keep, and rely on the sectarian added suttas/sutras - and then make the "interpretation" of the latter, a philosophical "buddhistic" requirement; as cryptically as possible.

At best, they'll veer unconsciously, towards the Śramaṇic and Brāhmaṇic view of the āraṇyaka (forest) Vedic tradition, which thought that the Self was Knowledge.

That by which we see (form), that by which we hear (sound), that by which we perceive smells, that by which we utter speech, that by which we distinguish sweet and not sweet, and what comes from the heart and the mind, namely, perception, command, understanding, knowledge, wisdom, seeing, holding, thinking, considering, readiness (or suffering), remembering, conceiving, willing, breathing, loving, desiring?
All these are various names only of knowledge (the true Self).
And that Self, consisting of (knowledge), is Brahman, it is Indra, it is Pragapati.
---
All that, is led (produced) by knowledge (the Self).
It rests on knowledge (the Self). The world is led (produced) by knowledge (the Self). Knowledge is its cause.
AitĀr. 2.6.1


The'll deny this Self, but they'll long for it.
Head upside down.

Mara's dream couldn't come out better.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:19 pm

retrofuturist wrote:I think we're just understanding phassa differently (again?)
I'm just going on how the suttas describe it:

"The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Are there other suttas where phassa is described in a different way?

My understanding works like this: Say I'm about to cross the road, then I look to the left and see a bus is fast approaching, so I stop. The Loka Sutta seems to say that my "world" is dependently arising, and doesn't include the "bus" until I actually see it - which is the point of contact, ie phassa.
If you think this understanding is incorrect, could you explain clearly why?
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:07 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:I think we're just understanding phassa differently (again?)
I'm just going on how the suttas describe it:

"The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Are there other suttas where phassa is described in a different way?

My understanding works like this: Say I'm about to cross the road, then I look to the left and see a bus is fast approaching, so I stop. The Loka Sutta seems to say that my "world" is dependently arising, and doesn't include the "bus" until I actually see it - which is the point of contact, ie phassa.
If you think this understanding is incorrect, could you explain clearly why?
The Law of Dependent Origination doesn't begin with contact of consciousness and eye forms. It begins with ignorance as condition arises formations. Formation as condition arises consciousness. From consciousness ....name and form....From name and form....the six sense spheres....from the six sense spheres....contact....From contact....feeling and so forth. Ignorance is the cause of all of this mass of samsara. It is the way we create this whole magical illusion of our world. The analysis of only a part of it will not untie the knot that binds. Cessation is the complete stopping of any formation that gives rise to a conception about the way things are. The paradox of appearance (arising) is seen as having no referents, no point to rest on. This doesn't mean that you walk out into traffic without a care in the world. The relative truth of the world is still operative but with no attachment to it at all. This was what Nagarjuna established as the two truths in his Madhyamaka verses, the Middle Way, as originally taught by the Buddha.

Spiny, does any of this resonate with you?

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:38 pm

Greetings,

You speak well Saengnapha.

Spiny... contact amounts to contact between subject and object. Ergo, there is already an object. There already being an object (I.e. dhamma), the opportunity to witness its arising has already passed.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:46 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:38 pm
Greetings,

You speak well Saengnapha.

Spiny... contact amounts to contact between subject and object. Ergo, there is already an object. There already being an object (I.e. dhamma), the opportunity to witness its arising has already passed.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Could you illustrate what you're saying using my bus example? How do you witness the arising of "bus", practically speaking?
Last edited by Dinsdale on Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:50 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:07 pm
Spiny Norman wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:I think we're just understanding phassa differently (again?)
I'm just going on how the suttas describe it:

"The Blessed One said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Are there other suttas where phassa is described in a different way?

My understanding works like this: Say I'm about to cross the road, then I look to the left and see a bus is fast approaching, so I stop. The Loka Sutta seems to say that my "world" is dependently arising, and doesn't include the "bus" until I actually see it - which is the point of contact, ie phassa.
If you think this understanding is incorrect, could you explain clearly why?
The Law of Dependent Origination doesn't begin with contact of consciousness and eye forms. It begins with ignorance as condition arises formations. Formation as condition arises consciousness. From consciousness ....name and form....From name and form....the six sense spheres....from the six sense spheres....contact....From contact....feeling and so forth. Ignorance is the cause of all of this mass of samsara. It is the way we create this whole magical illusion of our world. The analysis of only a part of it will not untie the knot that binds. Cessation is the complete stopping of any formation that gives rise to a conception about the way things are. The paradox of appearance (arising) is seen as having no referents, no point to rest on. This doesn't mean that you walk out into traffic without a care in the world. The relative truth of the world is still operative but with no attachment to it at all. This was what Nagarjuna established as the two truths in his Madhyamaka verses, the Middle Way, as originally taught by the Buddha.

Spiny, does any of this resonate with you?
Could you elaborate on the relationship between dependent origination and the two truths? Do you mean that Sunyata is equivalent to idappaccayatā?
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Re: Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness revisited

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:40 am

Greetings Spiny,
Spiny Norman wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:46 pm
Could you illustrate what you're saying using my bus example? How do you witness the arising of "bus", practically speaking?
Your desired example neatly captures why giving a "practical example"' is hard to do in English, because nouns (like "bus") take both the object itself and the conception of the object for granted.

In the Dhamma, the conception of an object is explained through the paticcasamuppada steps prior to contact. Thus, its arising.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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